Monday, 25 October 2010

Lessons Learned

Procedural Improvements

In hindsight, the lack of opportunity to beta iFind Discover in a soft launch was critical as it meant that several major problems caused disruption to services. These problems only revealed themselves under heavy usage and included resource allocation issues with the Jangle software used to connect to Swansea Metropolitan Library, Open SSL and LDAP connectivity and system resource allocation. Identifying these problems at an earlier stage may also have enabled complete two missing elements to the catalogue; a stable SSL certificate and the automated update of records.

The feasibility of a Multi LMS Discovery Catalogue

Our work on VuFind has shown that it is technically possible to modify the core to allow it to operate in a multi-LMS environment. The degree to which system functionality can be replicated and improved on is very much dependant on the LMS involved and relies on the openness of data and system services.

The major issues for the implementation of Multi LMS Discovery Catalogue are system performance and the accessibility of data in the user interface. Searching more than one system has inevitable implications for search time and produces greater technical challenges such as negotiating firewalls and merging data sets. The implications of differences in ICT policy, data sharing and commitment amongst participating institutions also need to be taken into consideration. In addition, presenting multiple sets of data also requires careful planning or users will be swamped with information, unable to quickly identify the details which are important to them.

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